Who’s fault is it? Hollywood? Videogames? We do not know, but it is undeniable that it is the role that gets the most attention in our world. Even those who start to play airsoft and do not know much about it want to be the sniper.
Maybe it is because of the feeling of superiority of the power to eliminate enemies without reaching you or without even getting to see you. Maybe simply because you are looking for something much calmer in terms of physically activity. Even so, although it may seem simple or basic, the sniper’s role can be played in many different ways.
In these lines we are going to present three very different ways of playing as sniper in an airsoft game. You probably already have seen them, maybe with other names or with some differences, in the airsoft fields. These three sniper philosophies that we have called: Sniper, Raider and Designated. Which one do you identify with the most?
Sniper refers to a player looking for specific shots from a vantage point and/or hidden position. Its main mission is to take down the maximum number of players without being discovered. His secondary mission is to take advantage of his hidden position to provide his team all the "intel" he can about the positions and movements of the enemy.
To this end he carries out a fairly solitary game, perhaps sometimes accompanied by a second sniper or assault player that acts as observer and protects the shooter. He often wears camouflage attire. From full or medium ghillies, to facial paint, the vegetation of the surrounding environment, etc.
This way of playing is very calm in general, slow movements, not to attract attention, always in silence, and above all with a great deal of patience. You have to know when to eliminate a player and when to let him pass to ensure the survival or elimination of several more. The psychological factor is key, the psychosis that generates the presence of an unlocated sniper can paralyse the progress of the mission of the entire enemy team. We all probably know a partner who plays this role, or a very similar one.
Their biggest advantage is the mimicry and stealth. And their disadvantage, although some may also consider it an advantage, is loneliness. It requires patience and perseverance to interpret this role. Perhaps it does not cause as many casualties as other roles that we will see later on, but without a doubt, every kill that he obtains is a great satisfaction for himself.
The "raider" always belongs to a unit or team. He is part of an assault group. In most cases he has a small submachine gun or rifle to use in close combat situations.
He is responsible for covering large areas when his team crosses them. Like for example the movie "American Sniper", where Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) moves along a platoon of Marines. But often advances and climbs to rooftops, to cover the advance of the Marines that move on the ground. Once the Marines overtake him, he changes position and repeats the process again.
A "raider" is also that player who, despite carrying a sniper rifle, acts and moves like an assault player. He wears a light and practical outfit to move comfortably. And he takes a position, takes down everyone he can and quickly changes to another position.
It is a very fast game, very dynamic, since the player needs to constantly change between his rifle and his short weapon, moving around the field with speed and insight, to always be able to eliminate enemies without exposing himself to an effective distance of the rifles of assault players.
He uses a generally light and very practical loadout. An automatic secondary weapon with some magazines to defend himself and fend for himself in closed areas, and his rifle. A very fast game, constantly changing positions, and always looking for an advantageous range and to surprise the enemy.
Designated shooter, DMR or select are some of the names by which we know this role. Although the two previous roles usually use bolt action rifles, this one normally carry semi-automatic rifles, although at lower power. But let's not forget that the "designated" is still a type of sniper. Only that the needs of his role have led him to another type of tools to play his role.
His main function is to take down priority objectives in a conflict. It moves within a unit, although at times he can move forward to scout areas. But he really stands out when the fight starts. While his team establishes a line of fire, he focuses on selective casualties, from a more secure position. He will look for other "designated" or "snipers” players, he will also look for "supports" that are potentially the most dangerous for the members of his unit.
And then, doctors, team leaders, radio operators, even assaults that are carrying out some special maneuver. That's why he carries a semi-automatic rifle, a bolt action rifle would slow him down a great deal. And although he loses power and effective range, he does not need them since he is sheltered in a unit.
Thus, a designated is the one who, like a support, has a certain control, even total control, of combat. Since they are not assault players who look to gain a few more meters to the enemy, either pushing or eliminating it, but creating the necessary strategic casualties to quickly tip the scale in favour of their team.
Again in the movie "American Sniper" we can see the main character using different rifles, alternating between bolt-action or semi-automatic rifles, according to the needs of each situation.
In most cases the use of a helmet will not be needed in any of the roles. Its use is uncomfortable, and being less exposed is something that is not necessary. In the case of the "sniper", he will wear his camouflage suit, something that will completely impede him. In case of "raider" or "designated", caps or hats will be a good option.
The use of plate holders will be reduced only to the "raider", or depending on the of environment, even the "designated". The plate holder is somewhat uncomfortable when moving fast, hiding, or simply unnecessary weight added. The chest rig or the first line are good alternatives for loading basic elements such as ammunition or other accessories.
As for concealment elements such as a ghillie, they are only essential for the "sniper", while for the "raider" and the "designated" they are rather useless. At best, the "viper" or suits that only cover the head, neck and shoulders imitating vegetation or providing rubber bands to add vegetation and local flora are useful.
But if these three types of sniper have something in common with those from Hollywood and those from videogames, is that the best thing we can do is stay away from the crosshead of their sights. Because despite all the effort that we make, a BB is enough to send us to square one. Happy hunting!